Left Their Nets and Followed Him

And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.  Matthew 4:18-22

For these fishermen this was not their first encounter with Jesus, as we find from the other gospels. But this is when Jesus came and directly called them to discipleship. And I love the fact that the Scriptures say, “immediately” left their nets and followed Him. Jesus declares, “There is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30) Following Jesus brings rewards in this life no doubt, the family of God consists of fellow believers who often become closer to you then your own family members. And these are the spiritual blessings Jesus is referring to which there is no denying it’s power. To live after Jesus and be indwelt with the Holy Spirit is to bring forth fruit from your life. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). The Spirit of God produces fruit in the life of the believer which consists with the characteristics that come from Christ. A transformed life indeed is a true blessing we have in this earthly life, but it still will bring forth persecution because of the fallen sin nature of this world which is corrupted by sin, and is diametrically opposed to that same Spirit of God that is indwelt in every believer. Jesus warns us about it (John 15:18-19), Paul tells us in Romans though, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18). That glory is when we will be with Christ in heaven in which He has gone ahead to prepare a place for us (John 14:1-3). His departure would be for the benefit of believers since He was going away to prepare a heavenly home, He will also return for us (His Bride) that we may be with Him forever. This is in fact, one of the passages from the New Testament which refers to the rapture of the church, His saints, at the end of the age when Christ returns.

Immediately—Let’s talk about ” immediately.” The Bible mentions that we should walk circumspectly, not as fools, but wisely (Ephesians 5:15), In fact, in this chapter we are told to walk in love (v.2), walk as children of light (v.8), and here circumspectly. Redeeming the time because the days are evil (v.16)—Oh how much time have I wasted. Even if I thought I was a careful planner. I wasted away days, months, years that God has wanted to use to bring me up in spiritual development of some kind. Growing as a Christian is what God’s plan is for me, after I have become His child by faith. The moment I received the Lord’s forgiveness for my sins and became born again, the growing development had begun. What negates that growth is my flesh, still wanting to rule my thought life, still wanting to rule in my heart. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is (5:17)—Knowing and understanding God’s will through the reading of His Word is spiritual wisdom. For example: God’s will revealed to us through His Word, is that people should be saved (1Timothy 2:3-4), That we be Spirit filled (Ephesians 5:18), That we be sanctified {set apart} (1Thessalonians 4:3), That we be submissive (1Peter 2:13-15), And thankful (1Thessalonians 5:18), and that we would endure suffering (1Peter 2:20). These were all modeled for us by Jesus Himself, He is our supreme example. And the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is to conform us into His image. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord (2Corinthians 3:18).

Beloved friend, God has given us all things that we may enjoy. So in order for me to enjoy what I have been given, is to see my life from His perspective. What does God value? Is it silver or gold that man covets? Certainly not! It is people, relationships, helping others. It always has, and always will be. Jesus tells us of a new command in John 13, After announcing His departure He then tells His disciples, A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35). The commandment to love is not new. What is new is in the method in how we are to love, as He (Jesus) loved us. We can’t love, nor forgive which a part of love, anyone without the help of God. Being filled with His Holy Spirit and using His enabling power is the only way how to do this. What is our part? My part is to by His Spirit (Romans 8:13) die to self daily, so that His life may be manifested through me. Think about it, the Scriptures are clear; And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men (Colossians 3:23). There is our marching orders so to speak. In our work, in our recreation, in our family, in our being a Christian today, we have a need to be always about glorifying God, giving Him thanks and praise through Jesus Christ! And the expediency is never been more important today, now in your life and in my life. Why? Because the Lord’s return for His church can happen at any moment. There is nothing left in Bible prophecy that has to happen first, before His return. Israel is where she is supposed to be at during the end times. What looks like an economic recovery is only a façade, and temporary at best. No, were living in the times that the Scriptures declare, Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near (Luke 21:28)

May the Lord bless your walk with Him today!






The Race of Faith

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.  Hebrews 12:1-3

This is a very crucial transition word offering concluding the testimony of early Old Testament witnesses written for us in Chapter 11. The faith of these OT saints looked forward to the promised salvation, whereas the faith of those after Christ looks back to the fulfillment of that same promise. Let us have a closer look.  The deceased people mentioned in ch.11 give witness to the value and blessing of living by faith. Motivation for “running the race.” Now what this does not mean is that the Old Testament saints, which are spoken about in ch.11, are sitting there in heaven watching the activities going on here on earth. It doesn’t mean they are there just watching us, rooting us on to see how we are going to act or respond to life’s challenges demanding our faith. No, but it does mean that their life of faith and accomplishments were worth noting according to God, and they are given to us as a witness of what faith can do in the life of a believer. Their lives bear witness to us of the value of walking with God, which we can accomplish also, when we exercise our own faith in our walk with God. So we are being encouraged to use their example as our witness to keep running the race marked out for us by God, and moving forward, we are now being exhorted to look to the greatest example of all, Jesus Christ.

Let us—The reference is to those Hebrews who had made a profession of Christ, but had not gone all the way to a full faith commitment. The race starts at salvation, and their being exhorted by the writer of Hebrews to continue unto the finish. Life here in the Bible, is likened to a race. Paul said, at the end of his ministry and life, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing (2Timothy 4:7-8) The context here seems to be indicating the the crown represents eternal righteousness, which salvation brings, and also rewards. The believers receive the imputed righteousness of Christ (justification) at salvation (Romans 4:6,11), and the indwelling Holy Spirit works practical righteousness which is our sanctification through out the life of the believer. The process we know as Christians is the ongoing battle of flesh verses spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is in part reminding the believer of his victory over sin (his flesh), through the cross of Christ. It is only when the struggle is complete, he has finished his race, will the Christian receive Christ’s righteousness perfected in him, also know as glorification when he enters heaven.

Every weight—Different from the “sin” mentioned right after, this refers to the main emcumberance weighing down the Hebrews which was the Levitical system of the law. Stifling legalism. The athlete of their day, would strip away every piece of clothing that was unnecessary for him before competing in a race. The outward things represent the Levitical law, that would ensnare them from following Christ.

Sin, endurance—Again here the context refers to the sin of unbelief. Refusing to turn away from the Levitical sacrifices, to the perfect scarifice, Jesus Christ (John 16:8-11). Endurance is the steady determination to keep going inspite of opposition. Regardless of the temptations to slow down and pull out of the race, and give up. The athletic metaphor is representing the faithful life of a determined athlete who has made sacrifices necessary to finish well,

Looking unto Jesus—They were to fix their eyes on Jesus as the object of their faith. The Author and finisher of our faith. He is the One who planted faith in our hearts. Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phillipians 1:6), Here is one of my favorite promises of God, What You have started in me Lord, You won’t abandon me in the middle of it. You won’t throw in the towel in Your working in me, because of my own stubborness, and unfaithfulness. No, You have promised me, (anyone who places their faith in Him for their salvation) that You would see it to completion. Until my race is finished! Awesome, just simply amazed at how much God loves me. Anyone who comes to Him by faith, receives these promises from God. So you see, Jesus is our example as New Testament believers as we run the race. There are going to be hardships along the way, it is innevitable living in a sin-laden fallen world that trials and tribulations will come. God never said it would be easy, in fact, He warns us about them: “In this world,” Jesus said, “you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Beloved friend, Life isn’t going to be easy for a Christian today, because you (me) are an alien in this world. When you walk with Jesus Christ you are out of step with the world. You are a threat to the world because the light and life of Christ in you, convicts them of their own sins. And they don’t like feeling guilty. It is only when there is light, that darkness cannot exist, All things were made through Him, and with out Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:3-5) The better meaning of this term in context is “overcome.” Darkness is not able to overcome or conquer the light. Just as one candle can overcome a room filled with darkness, so also the powers of darkness are overcome by the Person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Stay encouraged, your doing well in your race in Christ, you don’t have to be afraid of what’s ahead, just keep your eyes on Christ. Remember, others are watching you, let us be like the OT believers in the beginning of our text, who God can use as examples so that others may benefit in their own walk, and race of endurance.

May the bless you this day!

You Are Not Far From The Kingdom of God

Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But after that no one dared question Him.  Mark 12:28-34

The rabbis of Jesus day had determined that there were 613 commandments contained in the Pentateuch, one for each letter of the Ten Commandments. Now this scribe apparently overheard Jesus declaring to the Sadduces of making doctrinal error completely, in teaching there is no resurrection. So he asked Jesus an honest question. It is so cool to know that we can come to God with our questions about our lack of understanding. We don’t have to be affraid like some school children that they’d be laughed at, for asking such a question. God sees our heart at all times, and knows every motive behind them. Where a dishonest question is a question that is not looking for an answer; it’s looking for an argument. An honest question is seeking for an answer, and willing to trust in its reply, I have heard the truth. So in our walk as Christians, there are alot of times when people will question your faith, yet, there questions are not sincere. They are looking rather to prove you wrong. Just know, they did the same things to Jesus, so your in good company. This fellow has an honest question that’s just burning in his heart. It is a question that should concern every man who has become convinced of the existence of God. You say you believe in God. Good! But don’t just stop there, find out what God is like. What are His thoughts about your life? You see, if you believe in God, and that He does exist, as you start to develop from that basic concept “God exists” then anything else learned about God, can only inhance your life about the One who created you.

Some people are fortunate to have grown up in a godly Christian home. And have believed in Jesus Christ from day one. But for most of us, He has been hidden by misguided religiuous practices and rituals, which do not make us any closer to the truth than of these synogogue rulers of Jesus day, who thought that in keeping of law of Moses, there were somehow more elite than everyone else. Yet, here Jesus, reading from the Shema, (Pronounced She Mah) in Hebrew, (Deuteronomy 6:4-5), which  means “hear,” Jesus confirmed the practice of every pious Jew who would recite the entire Shema every morning and evening.

Love the Lord—Taken from (Deuteronomy 10:12;30:6), Jesus used God’s own word from the Pentateuch (Hebrew meaning the first 5 Books of the Old Testament, written by Moses) to answer the question, indicating the orthodox nature of His theology. The Second command—Jesus took the Pharisee scribe’s question one step further by indentifying the second greatest commandment because it was critical to an understanding of the complete duty to love. This commandment, also from the Book of Moses (Leviticus 19:18) is of the same nature and character as the first. Genuine love for God is followed in importance by a genuine love for people. To love God supremely, should be demonstrated in how we obey the second commandment Jesus gives us in our text. When Jesus Christ becomes the center of our existence, the center of our lives, we won’t respond to others who have made themselves the center of their existence. For if we live self-centered lives, we negate God’s love demonstrated through us to love our neighbor as ourselves. The kind of love that God expects us to love with is to be like His love, that others can be drawn to God by. Jesus told His disciples before He went to the cross: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35). So you see, if you are a Christian today, there is no room for self-centered behavior, we must embrace this mind of Christ, and esteem others better than ourself (Philippians 2:3-5). First things first. Get right with God, confess your sins to Him, seek His abundant pardon. Then get to know your God. Read His Word, learn the Scriptures that declare what His will is for our lives. Love this God with all of your heart, then the rest will take care of itself. The second commandment will fall into order, loving thy neighbor as thyself.

Not far from the kingdom of God—You’re not far from the kingdom of God because the moment God became the center of your life, you are in the kingdom of God. That is what the kingdom of God is all about, having the King of the universe, Jesus Christ be sitting on throne of your heart. Jesus both complimented and challenged the scribe. Jesus acknowledged the scribe’s insight regarding the importance of love. Yet, by stating that the scribe was “Not far” from the kingdom of God by emphasizing that he understood the requirements of love, he now needed to love and obey the One who alone could grant him entrance to the kingdom.

Beloved friend, From 613 laws to just two, Jesus has made things more simplified for us. Yet, apart from His Spirit we have no power whatsoever to obey. He has made the way for us to enter the kingdome of God, and we have the opportunity daily, to live out His kingdom on earth. Jesus tells us: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened to him. (Matthew 7:7-8) Good doctrine is right thinking about God, others, and ourselves. Right thinking, in turn, allows us to truly and deeply love one another.

May the Lord bless your walk with Him today!

Living Water

So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away to the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and livestock?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”   John 4:5-15

The woman, like Nicodemas in the previous chapter of John, (v.3:4), did not realize that Jesus was talking about her spiritual needs. Now up to this point, this woman had been rather sassy with Jesus, you can hear from her answers that she was already decided on what length of respect and courtesy she would give to Him. For she was know in her community for being a woman with bad moral character, in regards to her many relationships she has had with men. The type of woman that was used and then discarded by the men in her world, and therefore, had sized up all men to be the same way to her. For even the time of day, the sixth hour was the hottest part of their day, when no one would be there to confront her. Most women from that region would go out to the well at a much earlier time. So when she came to draw water and saw Jesus sitting there, and Him asking her, for a drink, She was puzzled at the request. ” Your a Jew and I’m a Samaritan, and were not supposed to have dealings with each other.” The Bible says in Matthew’s gospel, Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matthew 9:10-13)

When Jesus is talking to this woman about water, about more specifically, living water, she did not understand what He was talking about. Even I’m sure, as Nicodemas did not understand the first time said to him, “You must be born again.” Jesus is talking about spiritual things, and the woman at the well is thinking of only material things. So we can surmise that the reading of the Scriptures deals with our hearts most deepest spiritual needs, as well as our physical needs. Now, the statement, “He who drinks of this water shall thirst again,” here Jesus is referring to that physical water, speaking further, Jesus mentions thirst, not just physical thirst, but spiritual thirst as well. Man is a three-fold being: he is body, mind and spirit. And we have physical thirsts, we have emotional thirsts, and there is a spiritual thirst in man. Jesus said to the woman, “If your going to drink this water, your going to thirst again.” And that can be said of every physical experience that any human might possess, or seek to find fulfillment from. There are those people who think to themselves, “If I only could _____you fill in the blank,” then I’ll be happy, then I’ll be satisfied! It seems as if, were always at a stage in our life that wants to make the statement: If I could just achieve this, or maintain that, I would be satisfied. I would thirst no more! But Jesus points out, with those things, You drink of this water, you will thirst again.

Living Water—The Old Testament is the background for this term, which has important metaphorical significance. The OT prophet Jeremiah wrote, “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13 First Israel had abandoned the Lord, the source of spiritual salvation and sustenance. And secondly, Israel turned to idolatrous objects of trust; Jeremiah compared these with underground water storage devices for collecting rainwater, which were broken and let water seep out, thus proving worthless. The OT prophets looked forward to a time when “living waters shall flow from Jerusalem” (Ezekiel 47:9; Zechariah 14:8). The OT metaphor spoke of the knowledge of God and His grace which provides cleansing, and spiritual life, and transforming power of the Holy Spirit. So here, in our text, John applies these themes to Jesus Christ as the living water which is symbolic of eternal life and given to us through the Holy Spirit.

Beloved friend, Since the woman failed to understand the nature of the living water He offered (v.15), Jesus abruptly turned the dialogue to focus sharply on her real spiritual need for conversion and cleansing from sin. His intimate knowledge of her morally depraved life not only indicated His supernatural ability, but also focused on her spiritual condition. She was living conjugally with a man who Jesus said was not her husband. And that she has had five husbands before (vv16-18),  By such an explicit statement, our Lord rejected the notion that when two people live together it constitutes marriage. Biblically, marriage is always restricted to a public, formal covenant before God. God has placed a seal on those who have believed in Him. This seal is the Holy Spirit which was promised by Jesus before He went to the cross, and is a sign that we are now God’s property. What belongs to God is God’s and cannot be taken by another. God will ferociously guard that which are His, and will allow nothing to separate us from Him.  Praise the Lord, for His giving us His living water!

May the Lord bless your walk with Him!

He Knows Our Frame

As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.   Psalm 103:13-14

Does anyone remember when you were a child, having done something wrong, how fearful you might have been? Expecting your father or mother to be upset with you, and hand down a punishment suited for the situation. Well, instead perhaps you were shown compassionate love and the reassurance of understanding from a loving father or mother. You see where I’m going with this. God our Father, unlike the pagan gods who were apathetic or hostile during David’s days of writing this psalm, is a loving God who shows mercy and grace towards those who reverence Him. And secondly, He pities us, just like a father pities his children. Why? You may ask is God different than other gods? He knows are frame, He remembers that we are but dust. This body of mine, older and more creakier, is made out of the dust of the earth, and God remembers that. Man has a tendency to magnify his body. Everyone has been exposed to the multibillion dollar industry of advertising all of the latest “stay young looking products” out on the market today. We have come into a body worship culture, from body builders weight training, to fashion models showing their tiny waist figures on display. All of these efforts to make oneself look good, and then of course, have everybody else see me look good too. I’m not advocating not taking care of yourself, good health and nutrition is truly a blessing and a way of honoring the Lord. But just know that God remembers us as dust from which He created man from: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7). Many of the words used in this account of the creation of man picture a Master Craftsman at work shaping a work of art to which he gives life to. Made from dirt, a man’s value is not in the physical components that form his body, but in the quality of life which forms his soul, The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life (Job 33:4).

Now fast forward to the New Testament, the apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian believers, But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not us (2 Corinthians 4:7).  The Greek word for “earthen vessels,” means “baked clay,” and refers to clay pots. They were cheap, breakable, and replaceable, but they served necessary household functions. Sometimes they were used to store valuables, such as money, jewelry, or important documents. But they were most used for holding garbage, or human waste. The latter is the use Paul had in mind, and it was how Paul viewed himself—as lowly and common, expendable, and replaceable as you can get. Which means God doesn’t really expect much out of me as I expect out of myself. Which explains why I so often get so upset with myself and in disappointment often cry out, “Oh I thought I could handle this, or I expect more of myself, because I study the Word of God, and that automatically makes me so perfect! Nothing could be further from the truth. “Oh God, I am so sorry to disappoint You!” He says, “You didn’t disappoint Me. I knew what you are capable of, I formed you from the dust of the earth.” God knows me better than I know myself. So by using frail and expendable people, God makes it clear that salvation is His gift to us, and that it is a result of His power and not of any effort from us.

Beloved friend, Have you ever been to an art museum where their most prized work of art is on display? You don’t see neon lights all around it, or see it in the most ornate picture frame, why is that? That’s because it will take away from the beauty of the artwork. God has chosen to take the most glorious treasures that any . . . well, it is the most glorious treasure any man can possess. Which is the light and knowledge and the understanding of Jesus Christ. The most valuable possession a man can attain in this life, in this world is eternal life through Jesus Christ. For the Bible says, “For what will it profit a man, if he would gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? What then can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37) But why does God choose me, or you to have Himself be shown in us? So that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. This power can be best displayed through our brokeness. The ordinary person, who has come to the end of themselves, and has committed their lives to Christ. It’s His Holy Spirit empowering us to show others the life and love of Jesus Christ to this lost and dying world. Remember, wherever you go today, Jesus is to be on display in you. May that give you that extra-step of grace and peace that you need for a glorious day in Christ.

May the Lord bless your walk with Him today!


From Childhood You Have Known the Holy Scriptures

The Man of God and the Word of God: But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Lystra—-what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men  and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things you have learned and have been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  2 Timothy 3:10-15

Timothy was from Lystra. Paul met him on his first missionary journey. At that time Timothy was just a young boy, probably in his mid teens and yet he was attracted to Paul the apostle because of the message that Paul bore. Timothy had been schooled in the Scriptures from his early youth by his mother and grandmother, and so as Paul began to unveil with the Scriptures the proof of Jesus as the promised Messiah, with Timothy’s background, he could see the truth of it. And so he embraced Christianty, but because he saw the cost of the early Christians pesecutions they faced, he was probably very timid about speaking out in faith. So Paul said, you know what kind of life I lived. You know about the persecutions that I experienced, Persecutions—From a Greek verb that literally means “to put to flight.”  Paul had been forced to flee from Damasca (Acts 9:23-25), Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:50), Iconium (Acts 14:6). As a native of Lystra, Timothy would have been a witness to these persecutions, but the Lord delivered me out of them all. ” Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19)  Paul’s life contrasted with the world, the Christian’s life should also. The Christian life should always have purpose, the goal of glorifying Christ in all that we do. The world just exists to promote self, and to reach their highest places in this world, which in the end, without no real relationship to God, can never satisfy. Paul reminded Timothy of his life of one faith, lived with longsuffering, as faithful believers must expect persecution and suffering at the hands of the Christ-rejecting world (John 15:18-21).  The world really doesn’t admire true Christianty, why? Because the true child of God brings the worldy person under conviction. They just are irritated by all of the Christ-like attributes like love, longsuffering patience, and by your goodness to always want to do what is right. Jesus after giving the characteristics and traits of the Christian in the Beatitudes, after describing the peacemaker, the merciful, those who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, those who are meek, and poor in spirit, surely the world would welcome such a one that chooses to live this way? But after giving these characteristics of a godly man, Jesus final Beatitudes said, “Blessed are you, when men shall persecute you, and revile you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Matthew 5:11).

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution—That’s quite a promise isn’t it? Peter wrote in his epistle: Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:11-12). If you align yourself with God and His Word, you will find yourself out of line with the world and persecution will come.

But you must continue in the things you have learned—Paul is referring to the Scriptures, the O.T. Scriptures. The New Testament Scriptures were still being written and not canonized. So Timothy is being reminded of what he learned in childhood being described as the “Holy Scriptures.” Which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith in which is in Christ Jesus. In observation, there is evidence from studying the Old Testament, much evidence concerning Jesus Christ, that can lead you to believe in Him for salvation. Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures, because in them you think you have life; but actually, they are testifying of me.” (John 5:39) And He said, “Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.”  (Hebrews 10:7) The volume of the book is the Old Testament, it is all about Jesus Christ. The whole concept of redemption is wrapped up in the Old Testament. The promise of the Messiah, the details of the Messiah, they are all there. And Paul said, You’ve known the Holy Scriptures, able to bring you to faith in Jesus Christ, salvation through the faith in Jesus Christ.

Beloved friend, Do not underestimate the value of teaching the Word of God, the Bible to your children. It has long lasting effects that will endure through a person’s life. Our children need to see it modeled before them by their parents, and even grandparents. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6), There is only one right way, God’s way. Which leads to eternal life in Christ the Lord. Meaning early training leads to life long habits, parents must insist upon this way, the way of teaching the Word of God and enforcing it with lovingkindness, and discipline through out the rearing of their children.

May the Lord bless Your walk!

Come Boldly to God of Grace

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.   Hebrews 4:14-16

Jesus Christ as our High Priest is one of the magnificent truths that matures us in the faith with the invitation that draws us more intimately to Him. With the Spirit leading, let us have a closer look.  Just as the High Priest under the Old Covenant passed through 3 areas (the outer court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies) to make the atoning sacrifice for Israel, Jesus passed through the heavens as a glorious High Priest. He passed into heaven for me and you to make intercession for us. And He is described as being a sympathetic High Priest who understands our weaknesses, because He became a man and experienced the temptations that man experiences. He knows our problems we face each day, He knows our weaknesses that plagues us. And thus can empathize with us, this makes Jesus, the Son of God, our great High Priest, now seated at the right hand of throne of God (Hebrews 12:2), more unique than any man, as we accept His invitation to come to Him with boldness. The use of both the title of humanity (Jesus) and of deity (Son of God) is significant. Jesus was completely successful in His mission of redemption. He came and died as the sacrifice for our sins. He rose victoriously over sin and death, and ascended to heaven where He retained His place of authority, seated at the right hand of the Father. Knowing this as a Christian today, gives us great cause to remain steadfast in our confession of hope in Him.

Furthermore, our great High Priest is able to understand our needs and express His compassionate grace towards our frailities. Our Lord faced what we face and even more, as the enemy of our souls Satan, threw all of his tempting devices at Jesus. So He understands what battles we go through on a regular basis. That in itself is what makes Him special, and yet we read, He never yielded to the tempter’s attacks: “yet without sin.”  He not not only understands our plight, but He can also provide us victory.

Come boldly to the throne of grace—Most ancient rulers were unapproachable by anyone but their highest advisors. In contrast, the Holy Spirit calls for all to come confidently before God’s throne to receive mercy and grace through Jesus Christ. We are hereby given reason to approach God through our great High Priest, we can come without hesitation or apprehension to find the help we need. And so I approach God on the basis of His grace and mercy towards me, not on the basis of my own good works and deserving favor. And because I come to God with boldness, I can always receive the help that I need as His child, and by His invitation to me. How can I ever come boldly to the throne of grace except through Jesus Christ? Dare I come boldly to the throne of grace asking God to accept my works as sufficient, or better yet, to reward me for my good works. If good works could save us, it would nullify Christ’ death for us on the cross. It would no longer be called a throne of grace, but of good works. God forbid. No, I tell you,  I can only come, you can only come to God through Jesus Christ. And we can come boldly because the great High Priest understands our needs, our weaknesses, tempted just as we are. That is why He is able to help me in my time of temptation.

Beloved friend, So how are you going to approach God? On  the basis of your goodness, your efforts, your works, or on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ? I am resting today, not because of my own righteous deeds, but I’m resting in His finished work for me. I come boldly today to His throne of grace at His own personal invitation positionally as His child. Everything I need His grace will provide for me, and not because I somehow deserve it, but because I am loved by God as His adopted son, through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, His Son. The Bible says, I am a co-heir with Christ, The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:16-17) Every believer has been made an heir of God, our Father, and I believe and trust God to bless me so He does, because the blessings are always predicated upon the faith and believing in Him to do so. Any lack of blessing does not come from lack of devotions, but from our lack of faith. That’s hard to grasp, isn’t it? But today’s whole teaching isn’t predicated by what we have done, but on what Christ has done for us! By faith we take God’s Word to heart, and say, “No matter what comes my way Lord, I will trust in You, for the outcome!” God loves to prove Himself to those who have no other gods they are counting on, But Him, and Him alone! Glory be to God, for His redeeming strength!

May the Lord bless your walk with Him!

Rejoice Because Your Names Are Written In Heaven

The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subjest to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven. Behold, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because you names are written in heaven.” In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.”  Luke 10:17-24

If your a Christian today, Look at what Jesus said we ought to be rejoicing in, not that we have authority in His name to overcome our enemies, but rather that we are citizens of His kingdom. And our names are written in heaven. Let’s have a closer look. They returned with joy—In this context, Jesus appears to be giving them a greater insight, “Don’t be so surprised that the demons are subject to you; I saw their commander Satan cast out of heaven, so it is no wonder if his minions are cast out on earth.” Two things I see here, first, Jesus is our authority. Without Him, we can do nothing: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Meaning God has already given believer’s total blessings through the grace resources given to us to live here on earth. The other point of view I see is, perhaps Jesus is reminding them don’t get too prideful. Warning them against pride, the same reason for Satan’s fall. Serpents and scorpians—These appear to be figurative terms for demonic powers. Rather than being so enthralled with extraordinary manifestations such as power over demons and the ability to work miracles, they should have realized that the greatest wonder of all is the reality of salvation—which is Jesus whole point of the gospel message delivered through these disciples, the central issue through which all the supernatural works of miracles point to.

Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit—Now this is an interesting phrase. He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit. Have you ever rejoiced in the Spirit of God? When God’s Spirit is moving upon your heart, it’s exciting indeed. You feel so overwhelmed with a joy and peace that’s a remarkable work of His grace towards you. And so we read, Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit, and said, “I thank You Father, the Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hid these things from the wise and the prudent, and You revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for it was good in Your sight. (Luke 10:21) And here is why Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit, the working of God the Father in the hearts of men, enabling them to see a perspective that could not be seen by the hire-ups, if you will, the so called leaders in the synogogues. Jesus is looking at these simple men, fishermen, tax collectors, etc. He sees their excitement, they weren’t the rulers, the Pharisee’s in their synongogue’s. Just plain simple people. Exactly what Scriptures say are the ones God loves to reveal Himself to: Eye has not seen, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revaled them to us through the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10) As the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to reveal these matters to us, our faith develops so we might access them by faith. So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

No one knows who the Father is, but the Son, and to whom the Son wills to reveal Him— No one knows who God really is, except those whom Jesus has revealed the truth of the Father to. No man can come to the Father, except he be drawn. So if you have been drawn to God through Jesus Christ, be thankful. Because unless there was that work of God’s Spirit in your life, you would still be in your sins, and eternally separated from God. And the Jesus said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see” (v.23) — How blessed we are to have this relationship with the One who created the heavens and the earth! And wants us to know Him: Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3) to have understanding of these things which pertain to God, which Jesus says, many prophets who did not live during the time of Jesus would have loved to have seen. Even the kings of the earth—We’re all familiar with the story of Herod, Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” (Matthew 2:7-8) Herod had actually wanted to kill the Christ Child, whom he saw as a potential threat to his throne.

Beloved friend, If any of you have been a Christian for any length of time, you have indeed experience with spiritual warfare. I have to admit, when I am being tempted, it is the first voice that usually wants to lead me astray, and the second voice I hear is from God’s Word. This indicates the working of the Spirit of God in my life. He will never leave me alone to face any adversity, but rather will bring to mind God’s Word. This pattern in my life is and indicator that I am a child of God, and that no weapon formed against me shall prosper. Having said that, It is my conviction that I have’nt done enough warning to others, that the Lord’s return is soon. Those who are serving faithfully, steady on. Those who are not, need to return to their first love. The Lord delights to give heavenly spiritual insight to the humble of heart, and not to those who trust in their own wisdom might.

May the Lord bless your walk with Him!